7. Youth, Middle Earth, Esgaroth, the fourth age, the year 345
"But I want to go to Aman now!" Elentar told his father and glared at him.
"No. When you are grown. In a few years, but not now." Elrohir told his son in a calm, but firm voice.
"But I need to go and see other elves! At least let me go to the Lands of Morning, to find my uncle!" Elentar objected.
He was twenty years old, but he looked and behaved more like a fifteen years old. He was almost as tall as his father, and he had inherited his father's noble elvish looks. His hair was darker than his father's, though, it was true black, not the twilight colour of Elrohir's long tresses. And Elentar wore his hair short, painfully short. Elentar always looked as if he had taken the pruning shears to his hair. That way his delicately chiselled features looked even more elvish, and his sharply pointed ears were noticed at the first glance. Although Elentar still had the slender, almost fragile look of a boy, his height and the set of his shoulders promised that with maturity he would grow to be more powerfully built than his father, probably because of the additional human blood flowing in his veins that he had inherited from his mother.
"I understand how you feel, Elentar, but you are too young to go to Aman or to Kalormë. I think I have told you this a thousand times already. You are still too young for such dangerous voyages. You have to wait for a few more years," Elrohir repeated, his voice still calm.
"And how shall we get there then? Grow wings?" Elentar was working himself up for yet another temper tantrum. He did not want to be calmed down like a child.
"When you are old enough, you will go to Aman," his father replied, still calm. "But only then. Until then you need to learn how to behave."
"And what do you know about that?" Elentar spat at his father. "You're not an elf, you're only human!"
Elrohir drew back as if he had been struck in the face. Elves never hit their children. Never. Even when they are not really elves any longer. For once Jarro almost hoped that Elrohir would forget himself and just hit Elentar. The boy was as good as asking for it. Jarro did not think that she could have kept her temper in Elrohir's place. But towards his mother Elentar was almost always well behaved. It was his father that was the target for all his anger and frustration at being different, at being an elf. Jarro could see how Elrohir clenched his teeth. He would remain composed. He would never hit his son, or even shout at him. She sighed. If she had watched this match of tempers once, she had watched it a hundred times. She could understand how difficult it was for Elentar to grow up as the only elf in Middle Earth. And in a way he was right. Elrohir was not an elf anymore. He was ageing. His hair was streaked with silver. There were many fine lines around his eyes, and there were even some little deeper lines around his mouth. A good many of these lines were Elentar's doing, too.
But this year was especially difficult for the young elf. This year Elentar had to come to terms with the fact that his mortal sisters had reached him in age and maturity although they were five years younger than he was. Jarro was only glad that Emlin and Elanor were patient and good-natured girls. She did not think that she would have survived with another two examples of that fiery temper in the house. Sighing, Jarro turned back to her men.
"Go in your room and stay there until I feel better about you," Elrohir was saying, obviously forcing himself to keep calm at his son's impudence.
"Go into your room and stay there," Elentar hissed, narrowing his eyes. For a moment he looked like something wild and dangerous, an angry cat, perhaps, ready to strike. Elf. Not human. Not human at all. "And how long will it be this time? A week? A hundred years? Oh, I forgot, you won't live that long!"
Jarro stared at her son. She felt herself grow cold. She felt how her hands started shaking.
She saw how Elrohir turned pale. She watched as all Elrohir could do was close his eyes and turn away.
Elentar had finally noticed that he had gone too far this time. His eyes grew huge and frightened in his face, and suddenly silver tears were streaming down his face.
"Mama," he said, his voice shaking. "Mama, I did not want to..."
"I don't want to know what you wanted, Elentar," Jarro said, her voice almost breaking with grief. "Go to your room. For the evening. I will send Anna with some food. Now go."
She could not bear to look at her son now.
She waited until she heard his uncertain steps at the door and then in the floor and upon the stairs. A moment the sound of a door was slamming shut echoed through the house. Jarro winced. She was only glad that the girls were with their "aunt", actually her best friend, the midwife Lori, tonight.
Jarro released a shuddering breath. Much as she loved her son, this was one of the times in his live that she had really wanted to hit him. She wanted to hit him with all her strength until he realized how much he had hurt his father. She knew that it was wrong. She knew that it would not help. She would never do it. But how could Elentar hurt his parents that way? She knew that he did not really want to hurt anyone. Elentar was feeling enough pain and anguish of his own. But how long would it be before he learned to think before he lashed out when his feelings were hurt, or things did not go the was he wanted them to go? How long would it be before Elentar realized how much he had hurt his father with his words, how much he had hurt her. It was because of her that Elrohir would die.
She walked towards Elrohir and drew her husband into a tight embrace.
For a long time they remained standing in the warmth of their embrace, their faces hidden from each other, seeking comfort in each other's body, in their shared love.
"I'm so sorry," Jarro whispered. "He did not mean it that way. He did not really want to hurt you."
"Didn't he?" Elrohir answered, his voice bitter and full of pain. "I am not so sure. He is much more mature than I was at that age. I think that he knows, or at least that he could know exactly what he just said. My brother and I were wild boys, and we did not always obey our father, but we would have killed ourselves before saying something like that."
"But you were among your own people, and you always were together. You were never alone. He is alone. Even though you remember your childhood, your life as an elf, you are no longer an elf, and Elentar only sees the human part of you, the presence, and not the past. Elrohir, Elentar's only friend is Kilían, a dwarf! And now his sisters have reached his age and will probably overtake him in the next few years. He's frightened and lonely. And on top of that he is bored to bits." Jarro said softly.
Elrohir sighed and drew his wife into a deep kiss. "I know you are right," he finally said. "Don't think that I don't see it myself. I wish I could help him. But I can't. You are right. And he's right, too. I am not an elf any longer. In many ways I don't even think as an elf anymore. – Don't cry, melleth nîn. Sweet, what's the matter?"
"You will die and only because of me," Jarro sobbed. Why was it that every little bit of happiness always came with a price? Although she had sworn many years ago that she would never question the gift of her husband's love for her, on some days it was harder than on others. And lately she had noticed a few grey streaks in her own hair. Although her body was still slender and trim – mostly because they spent such a lot of time outdoors, hunting, riding, sailing, swimming and running – , the lines around her eyes, the silver streaks in her hair, told her in no uncertain terms that old age was coming for her, too.
Elrohir laughed softly and drew her even closer into his arms. He kissed her forehead, her temples, then he reached up and gently stroked back her unruly hair. "How could I not? You are my love, you are my life. We have been blessed. Don't cry. One day Elentar will grow up. He will grow into a wonderful elf. Just wait and see."
Jarro gave a shaky laugh at that, but at least she managed to stop crying.
Together they slumped down on the white couch in their living room. Jarro put her legs across Elrohir's lap and laid her head on his shoulder. Elrohir put his arms around her, holding her tightly. "I love you, Jarro. More than I can ever say."
"I love you, too, melethron nîn. But what about our wayward son? How can we help him?"
Jarro sighed, relaxing slowly. This absolute harmony between her and her husband was what had really kept her going through the difficult years since Elentar had suddenly turned into a troubled teenager.
"How can we help him," Elrohir let out a sigh of his own. "He should go to Aman. I know that. You know that. Even he knows it. But you know that he has to go alone. I cannot reach the Blessed Realm anymore. My choice is made. That way is closed to me."
"He will have to go alone," Jarro said, feeling tears choke her. "All alone. Oh, ye Gods! What kind of blessing is that, to renew the choice of the half-elven in a child that is all alone, a world away from his people? What kind of blessing is that to make him leave his parents and his sisters and try and cross the ocean all alone, with no help at all?"
"I don't know, Jarro. I have really no idea. We can only hope that the Valar have a reason for allowing Elentar to choose between his mother's and his father's people. We can only hope and pray." Elrohir said quietly.
"Hope and pray," Jarro repeated and there was a hint of rebellion in her voice. "Is there really nothing we can do? And why didn't the Valar bless Emlin and Elanor, too? Don't they deserve the same choice? After all, they share his blood! Your blood, my blood. Elvish blood and human blood. Shouldn't they be allowed to live forever, too?"
"I don't know, Jarro. I really don't know. I think they should be allowed to choose, just as their brother may choose one day. But it was not my decision. It was the Gods' decision." Elrohir's voice was rough and shaking with emotion.
When Elentar had been five years old, his parents had been forced to accept that their son had the life of the Eldar, that he, just as his grandfather and father before him was allowed to choose, whether to belong to the Firstborn or thesecondborn. This knowledge had been hard for both of his parents. And only a few years later they had to come to terms with the fact that their sweet little daughters had not been blessed with the life of the Eldar, that their little girls were mortal. This had been even harder to accept for their parents, and especially their father. Emlin and Elanor were the sunshine of Elrohir's life. But they were mortal, like their mother had always been, and like their father was, since he had made his choice thirty years ago, when he had married Jarro.
"If it had been my decision, they would live forever, you know that, Jarro." Elrohir whispered. When Jarro looked at the face of her beloved, she saw silvery tears at the corners of his eyes. She kissed them away, tenderly, gently. "I know, Elrohir. I know."
For a long time, they remained sitting on that couch together, embracing and kissing, comforting and being comforted.
Finally Jarro yawned. "I think, it's time for bed now. I will tell Anna to send some supper up to Elentar, but I think I will just go to bed. I feel pretty mangled after that scene our youngster pulled off tonight. But, you know, we really have to do something with him, Elrohir."
Elrohir reluctantly let her out of his embrace. He was tired, too. He was beginning to feel the weight of his mortal years. And it pained him to see his only son so lonely and torn.
"I know, I know. Perhaps I could take him to Rivendell in the summer? There at least a hint of elvishness should still remain. Maybe that will help, give him some connection to his elvishness. Or we could even try to sail for Kalormë. We could try to find my brother and his people. I only hope Elentar doesn't do anything stupid until I have had the chance to explain to him about the ship and the star chest."
Jarro stared at Elrohir. Her heart sped up. Fear tightened an icy grip around her neck.
"You don't think he'd just run away, do you?" She asked, her voice shaking.
Elrohir shrugged, but his eyes were full of worry. "I hope he won't. I pray he won't. But I will tell him about the ship nevertheless. Even though he is too young. If he decides to try it on his own, without the ship and without the charts, he is doomed. With it, he would have at least a chance."
"He would never do that to us." Jarro said. "He would never simply run off. Wouldn't he?"
"No, I don't really think he will, Jarro. My father never did anything like that. My brother and I never did anything like that." Elrohir replied as soothingly as he could.
But Jarro was way too familiar with the history of her husband's family.
"But you grandfather, Eärendil. He did do something like that, didn't he?"
Elrohir nodded weakly.
Two weeks later, after another horrible fight with his parents, Elentar Peredhel run away from home. His father had not been able to talk to his son about the elvish ship hidden at Dol Amroth, or the chest with the charts that would show the way to Aman, the Blessed Realm.
Although the guard of Esgaroth searched high and low for the boy, and Elrohir himself, a ranger and hunter with the experience of more than three thousand years, spent more than a year in the wilderness trying to find any trace of his son at all, their efforts came to nothing.
Elentar had disappeared and could not be found.
His parents never saw their only son again.
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.