13. A Search Begins
Middle Earth, Rhudar Wilderness, Third Age, fall 2861,
Iorlas found himself restless during the early hours of the next morning. Finally giving up he slipped from his bedroll and quietly moved down stream where he washed himself and combed his hair. It was fast growing to a length that would soon allow him to adopt the style worn by his companions. It was difficult to accept the possibilities of the heritage that Lord Elrond believed was his. He shook his head in disbelief at how his life had changed in the past few years.
Collecting an armload of fallen branches he returned to the campsite. As the rest of the elves began rousing from their rest, the fresh sentries finished eating and prepared to move out in relief for the previous ones. Kiril was preparing a fresh pot of hot tea for the rest of the company at the fire. Nodding to him, Iorlas added the wood to the pile off to one side and picked up a rescued bucket from the remains of the nearby burned hut.
“I will collect water for the lords.” He nodded towards the gwanur and Glorfindel who were standing off to one side talking quietly.
Kiril shook his head. “They prefer to take care of their own needs. Out here they are warriors and require no one to play their servant. Additional water would be appreciated, however, for the cleansing of the cooking pots.”
Iorlas nodded and returned to the stream. Glorfindel watched as he continued to pitch in where ever he noticed a need. “He is not proud, that one. He does what needs doing.”
Elrohir nodded. “He will fit in well, I think. When he reaches his majority, and improves his weapons skill; any of the patrols will find him a welcome addition. If he has any of the leadership qualities of his father he has time for them yet to emerge and he will prove a worthy successor to the Hador line.”
“First, we must find proof of such a link.” Elladan commented.
Glorfindel nodded. “After we have eaten, we will begin our search at the small cave that Iorlas mentioned. We may find something that will help narrow our search.”
“You knew both Lord Hador and his lady, did you not Glorfindel?” Elladan asked curiously.”
The blond elf lord sighed heavily. “Yes, I fought beside him often during the Dark Years. After Eregion was laid waste we followed Gil Galad while he defended Lindon and the Grey Havens. Your father was besieged in Imladris then but to our great relief held out against the forces of Sauron. When Sauron’s minions overran Eriador we helped escort the lady into the safety of the refuge your father had created at Imladris. It was there that Lord Hador sought her hand in marriage and they were wed.”
“We believed Iorlas’s weapons to be those of Lord Hador, but are you sure?”
Glorfindel nodded. “More than once I saw him use them, that great emerald in the sword pommel spitting fire like the eye of a great angry cat and those two knifes spinning in great arcs as they flashed their messages of death. He was unstoppable in many ways. Gil Galad was happy to see his niece wed to such a great warrior.” He shook his head in sad remembrance. “I think he knew he would not survive much longer and wanted to make sure the only hin of his house was safe.”
“Then I suppose it was just as well he never knew of their disappearance or suspected there may have been treason against them in their future.”
“Excuse me, my lords,” Iorlas interrupted their conversation respectfully. “If you are ready, I will show you where the storage cave is and we can retrieve the trunk. Hopefully it will contain something that will direct us to what you seek.”
Glorfindel smiled at him, “You are right we should begin.” Turning to Kiril he gave orders to prepare for a longer stay and establish a rota for sentries about the camp. “We will us this as our base and fan out from here as we search for any signs of the missing elves.”
Kiril nodded his understanding and turned to follow his instructions.
“We should be able to retrieve some of the supplies from the cave providing the orcs have not found and destroyed them.” Iorlas offered. “There was grain, dried fruit and nuts along with smoked fish and venison the last time I checked. It would be a shame to let them go to waste. That way we will not have to hunt or fish beyond the rim of the valley for a while. It might lessen attracting any unwanted attention before we wish to.”
Elrohir smiled. “You think like a warrior already Iorlas. Such additions to our rations would be most welcome. Is the cave far?”
Iorlas shook his head. “About half a mile down the trail towards the stream. It was the closest cave that remained cool and dry. My father did not want to store our extra supplies too close to our hut in case we ever had to flee. It would be a second home if necessary.”
“Your father was very intelligent, Iorlas. He planned well for his family.” Glorfindel commented approvingly.
Iorlas flushed with their praise and ducked his head in embarrassment. “Thank you my lords, he would have been pleased with your approval I think. He had much admiration for the woodcraft of the Eldar.”
“Well, penneth, lead on. Let us begin our task.” Glorfindel gestured towards the trail. “I for one would like to find what we seek before our presence becomes known. I would rather not have to fight our way back to Imladris through an army of yrch.”
It proved to be a short walk but they approached with caution and carefully searched the surrounding area for signs of orc incursion. Luck was with them and no fresh traces were found.
Ingold had selected the location with care and over the years had encouraged the growth of small bushes and trees that successfully hid the path to the cave’s site. If you did not know of its existence you would never have found it. Located in the cliff face high above the stream facing away from the direction of the usual wind it could be reached only by a narrow rocky ledge. A small waterfall to one side would provide any water needed by a hidden occupant. The path would allow a single man to defend the approach easily and if necessary he could remain undetected for some time.
Both Glorfindel and the gwanur nodded in approval. “Indeed he was an excellent wood crafter, Iorlas.” Glorfindel grinned at him. “If you have no objections, I would like to share this with a select few of our scouts. It would prove to be an excellent safe hiding place if needed.”
“Since I do not think I will have any further use for it my lord, I can not offer any objections. If it will provide shelter for our people, then of course please share its location.”
It proved a tight passage over the pathway for the four elves and an even tighter fit within the cave. Only about six by six feet in a lopsided oval, one side was completely given over to a series of small barrels filled with dried lentils, flour, corn, dried fruit, and nuts. Sitting across the back were more barrels and a small chest across their top. Hanging from hooks set in the ceiling were haunches of smoked venison and wild boar.
Glorfindel paused before entering the cave and frowned as he took in the amount of supplies that had remained undamaged from rodents or other scavengers. He felt a stinging across his nerve ends and twitched in discomfort.
“Someone has set a spell here to protect the contents. Do you not feel it?” He glanced back at Elrohir and Elladan who nodded in agreement. “Iorlas?”
“No my lord, I do not.” He glanced about. “Nothing seems changed. The chest is there.” He pointed to the back of the cave.
Glorfindel nodded and moved further into the cave. “We should take the chest back with us and conduct our inspection there. Iorlas will no doubt want to retrieve most of it to take back with us.” He looked around and grinned. “We will be well fed by the looks of all this. Kiril can come back with you two later and collect what is best used while we are here. The rest should be safe here for some time in the future.”
The gwanur nodded in response and Elladan looked over at Iorlas with a grin. “You are sure you do not mind?”
Iorlas grinned back. “It would be a long way to come for supplies when I am back in Imladris. Use what ever you can.”
“Well lets get the chest back to camp so we can do a look through for any clues.” Iorlas moved forward and picked up the chest with ease and turned back towards the entrance. He laughed as each of the brothers snagged a haunch of venison and wild boar before following him out. After returning to the camp the gwanur passed the venison and boar to Kiril who whooped with glee. “We will eat well these next few days.”
Gathering round the chest the three elf lords watched as Iorlas opened it and began to remove items. The first was a fabric wrapped bundle that turned out to be clothing belonging to a small hin. He set it aside and took out a shawl, several small carved statues, and finally, two small volumes bound in leather. He opened the first then frowned and passed it to Glorfindel. “I think it is elvish my lord, but I cannot read it.”
Glorfindel took it and nodded as he quickly scanned through it. “It is. It looks like a journal going back several years and appears to have been written by an elleth.” He looked up at Iorlas. “If it is your mother’s it will be quite personal. Do you mind if we go through it?”
“My lord if it will help, how can I object? I do not believe she would object either.”
Glorfindel paused thoughtfully. “Only I will do so for now in respect for her privacy. In time you will be able to read it yourself.” Iorlas nodded and handed the second one to the blond elf lord who glanced through it as well. “This one appears to have been written about the time Lord Hador and his lady disappeared. I will start with it. It might have more relevance to our search.”
He walked off a short distance and settled down to go through the journals while Iorlas returned to the chest’s remaining contents. The gwanur watched with interest as other small items of jewelry emerged. One item particularly caught their eye.
“Iorlas, that is a signet. May we see it?” Iorlas handed it to Elrohir who then handed it to Elladan. After looking at each other they called to Glorfindel.
“Better look at this. I think we have found part of what we were looking for. It is the armor crest of Lord Hador.”
At their call he rose and crossed to them taking the crest from Elladan. As he held it in his hand he sighed in regret and nodded in confirmation. Looking at Iorlas. “Lord Hador, we greet you and welcome the reestablishment of your house among our people.”
Iorlas, sat there silent and his face white with shock. “You are sure?”
Glorfindel smiled. “Fairly sure, I believe the journals will confirm it.”
“Please, my lord say nothing about this. I am not ready to assume that role.”
“I agree, but in time you will be and in deference to your parents you must do so.”
Iorlas swallowed hard. “I understand my lord. When the time is right I will do so.”
Author’s note. The dates used in this story are compressed and do not line up with canon. Numenor has already fallen and Sauron has grown in power. More specifically Gil Galad’s death and the battle of the Last Alliance on the Plains of Dagorlad have already occurred. Changes were necessary to fit in the actions of my characters and make sense of their impact. The chronology of historical events according to Tolkien do follow canon.
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.