3. The Waiting Time
The hot summer sun had finally penetrated the deep valley and the last homely house had been slumbering under its shimmering waves for the past week. There was little indication of activity and most of its inhabitants had retreated to their rooms to wait for the cooler breezes of early evening. A few limply spread themselves along the banks of the streams that flowed though and around the various buildings doing their best to take advantage of the cooler water by submerging themselves in the slow moving current. Unfortunately the heat soon dried them and they had to constantly repeat the dunking for any sustained relief.
Like most of them, Elrond had stripped down to the bare minimum of clothing he could get away with and still maintain any dignity. In his case it consisted of open tunic, loose leggings and going barefooted. He was spending the afternoon working at the desk in his private library. Erestor had left a large pile of reports and letters needing Elrond’s attention before he and his hervess retired seeking the calm and cooler sanctuary of their own rooms. In spite of every window and door being open, there was no air circulating through the rooms. Elrond sighed and pulled the neckline of the sheer tunic away from his chest and adjusted the heavy fall of his hair back off of his neck. At the knock at his open door he turned his head and watched as one of the house elves entered with a tall pitcher of chilled juice and set it down on a table near the open balcony door.
“My lord, your lady thought you might have need of something cool to refresh yourself while you finish your tasks.”
“Thank you, Sador, she was right. I am afraid I have not accomplished as much as I had hoped to.” He sighed again.
“Will you require anything else before dinner, my lord?”
“No, and it is too hot for the staff to try and maintain their usual range of services. Inform them that a light cold dinner is enough. If they set it out on a table, we can all serve ourselves and they will be free until early in the morning.”
I will inform them my lord, and on their behalf, I thank you for such consideration.” Sador nodded and returned to his duties.
*Meleth, I have closed the workshops and told my people we will not resume until this heat wave breaks. They cannot concentrate and I do not wish to risk any more progress on the tapestries. * Elrond smiled as his hervess brushed his mind.
*Ind nin that is wise. Where are you now? *
*I am just entering the lower hall and will shortly be sinking into a cold tub in our rooms. * There was a pause then a wicked giggle. *Will you be joining me? *
*Ah, ind nin, you do tempt me, but I regret I cannot do so just yet. Erestor has given me a rather large stack of reports that I must complete before the dispatches to go out in the morning. *
*Would it not be wise to wait until the cooler part of the day to finish them? A cool bath to refresh you, then a light dinner and after wards you can work on our balcony? *
*It sounds like a most satisfying way to deal with it all. I will be there shortly. *
Elrond collected the scattered reports and piled them neatly together. Pausing he poured himself a tall glass of the juice and crossed to the open balcony door. Slowly sipping, he gazed across the gardens below to the high falls beyond that appeared to drop its torrent of water more slowly in the heat. Its usual rumble was muffled to a soft grumble that seemed sleepy and sluggish. Sighing, he finished the juice and crossed to the desk and picked up the stack of paperwork. Crossing to the hall door he grinned and returned for the pitcher of juice. It should not go to waste.
He paused at the door of the twins’ nursery and smiled at the two small figures sprawled in sleep across the floor next to the door leading to the terrace. Tanthar, their nurse was sitting nearby reading and she smiled up at him when she saw him standing in the doorway. She too wore the minimum needed to preserve modesty.
“Good Afternoon, my lord.”
“The heat wore them out I see, Tanthar.”
“Yes, I will wake them in another hour or so for dinner and then a short quiet time with you and their naneth before bath and bed.”
“Have you talked to Amarie?”
“She stopped by a short while ago, but went up to your rooms when she saw that the little ones were asleep. I believe she intended to cool off in a bath.”
“I suspect so. I have instructed the kitchen staff to set out a light cold supper and we would serve ourselves. If you will bring them up, they may eat with us and that will give you a couple of hours to seek some cool place and relax. We will see to their baths and put them to bed. Amarie has closed the workshops until this weather breaks so she will be able to spend time with the hin and give you a break. We can talk about it when you bring them upstairs.”
“I would be grateful, my lord. In the heat it is wearing to keep up with them. I will return in time to sleep in the next room in case they should wake during the night.”
He nodded and waved, then continued up the stairs. He was blessed now. He found it hard to believe so much had changed for him in just the last eight years. As he entered the sitting room he placed the reports and the pitcher of juice on a table. He could hear Amarie in the bathing chamber and smiled as she sang one of the bawdy songs that Elladan had taught her.
*Ind nin, I am here and I will join you shortly. That is a most interesting song. I hope you do not sing it when the little ones can hear you. *
Amarie broke off singing and started laughing. * I would be a most improper naneth if I did that. I am only improper with you, my lord. I await your pleasure, meleth nin. *
*Shortly, ind nin, shortly. *
He removed his tunic and leggings and poured two glasses of the juice then padded towards the bathing chamber. He considered how much he was willing to heat up the water and enjoy the delectable body of his hervess he was about to join.
The first cool breezes of the evening were finally rising off of the lower river and across the various falls about the last homely house. Now refreshed and wearing a light linen robe, Elrond sat working through the stack of reports occasionally making notes as he completed each one. Pausing from time to time, he watched Amarie sitting on a low divan and reading about the great balrog slayer to the two little ones who sat wide-eyed on either side of her.
“Naneth is that about our Glorfi?” the ellon asked in awe.
“Yes, it is, Elros.”
“But you said he died!”
“He did and the Valar allowed him to be freed from the hall of Mandos and sent back to us so that he could protect your ada and his family.”
“I will marry him and take care of him when I grow up. He said he would wait for me.” Elwing said importantly.
“That is very nice little one, but that will be a long time yet.”
Amused as he listened to the exchange Elrond wondered what his gwanur and his naneth would think about their namesakes. There had been a great deal of discussion on what to name the new elflings but when Arwen had finally suggested this to them he had known that it was right. Returning to his labors he continued to work steadily through the remaining papers until he could sit back and relaxed well satisfied with reaching their end.
Noticing that their ada had finally completed his work, Elros and Elwing slipped from the divan and immediately gave him their complete attention.
Elwing climbed up in his lap and put her chubby little arms around his neck.
“I love you ada, will you tell us the story how you found our secret valley and built our home?”
“Yes, ada, and tell us about how Glorfi was told to come back and protect us all!”
Elrond exchanged amused looks with Amarie then gathered both into his arms and hugged them. With a firm shake of his head he set them down and rose from his chair.
“Your naneth has already told you three stories this evening and now it is time for you to go to bed. I promise I will tell you some more tomorrow evening after your baths before you go to bed.”
“Ada, please, it is too hot to sleep now.”
“Then you can lay quietly on your beds and rest while you imagine all kinds of adventures.”
*Do you really imagine, meleth, they will actually lay quietly? *
*No, but Tanthar will be there and keep an eye on them. If necessary I will settle them with a mild sleeping suggestion. *
He picked up Elros and strode towards the nursery. Amarie laughed then gathered Elwing up in her arms and followed him.
After the hin settled for the night, Elrond and Amarie retreated to their balcony overlooking their private garden. Once there they sought the wide chaise and lay back together. He pulled Amarie into his arms and rested his head on hers. As was his habit before retiring Elrond sat relaxed, opening his mind to the ebb and flow of life around him. Vilya seemed to pulse and throb as he let his senses expand out over the length and breadth of Imladris seeking the well-being and contentment of his people. Once assured that there were only minor problems of concern only the individuals themselves, he withdrew his thoughts and leaned back pulling his hervess back within the shelter of his arms. Unconsciously both sought the star of his father that gleamed low in the evening sky.
“Your father is especially bright, meleth. Like he is pleased with something…”
“Or someone. I know,…. and wonder why. It usually means changes are on their way.”
Elrond fell silent and pondered what lay in their future. His gift of foresight had not revealed much in the past few months. All was well with his family and there was no sign of impending danger. He missed his oldest daughter more then he liked to admit, but understood the necessity that forced her to forgo many trips back and forth between Lothlorien and Imladris. She along with her daer odhron sent many gifts for the hin and Galadriel often mind spoke with Amarie concerning her “adopted” daer hin.
Considering everything, he still never ceased to be amazed at all the changes.
Elrohir and Elladan seemed enchanted with their younger gwanur spending as much time with them whenever they returned from their constant war with the yrch. It was not unusual to find them each carrying one of them on a shoulder or a back as they went about the last homely house. And even better, they were showing signs of maturing at last with their perchance for mischief seemingly diminishing markedly.
As for Erestor and Sadi, much to their surprise and delight, they soon were to have an elfling of their own. It seemed that Imladris was exploding with a boom of young ones. Many of the artisans and other refugees found their families increasing in the safety offered by the last homely house so it appeared there would soon be the need for re-establishing the school and finding teachers to take the classes.
No, all in all, things seemed to be going well for the residents of Imladris.
His musings were interrupted by the sounds of paws clicking across the tiled floor of the lower balcony and a soft woofling sounding at the bottom of the stairs. Elrond smiled before giving Amarie a gentle hug and releasing her to rise and head for their top.
“It appears that Silanor has returned and is asking permission to enter.” He called down and was soon rewarded with the appearance of a dainty female golden wolf that was his personal shadow. She moved slowly, her body heavy with the pups she carried. Gently nosing his hand, she turned and yip in greeting to Amarie.
“Welcome, sweet one. Your time grows near. Will you honor us with your presence until the little ones arrive?” Elrond dropped to one knee and hugged the wolf gently.
Silanor turned her large brown eyes to look into his face and cocked her head as if considering his request. With great dignity she dropped her front quarters in an awkward half bow and wagged her tail briskly.
Elrond laughed. With a gentle ruffling of her head and a rub of her ears he rose and rejoined Amarie.
“The wolves were a great gift meleth, I often wonder why Eru so bless us.” Amarie watched as Silanor snuffled around for a while, seeking a comfortable cool spot to sleep. When she made her choice she circled several times and flopped down awkwardly.
Amarie chuckled. “I know just how you feel, golden one. I also know how glad you will be when they arrive!”
Solanor looked knowingly at her in agreement and thumped her tail against the floor, then finally sighed and closed her eyes.
Amarie was one of the few elves that knew the full story behind the coming of the wolves to Imladris. Their purpose as of yet remained unknown to them but all were confident that time would reveal it. Elrond unconsciously fingered the silver half disk at his neck and remembered she who had given it to him.
“You wonder what happened to her don’t you, meleth?” Amarie asked softly.
Nodding, Elrond frowned. “It was all so strange. Sometimes I think it was only a dream. Yet I know we were together and the tales she told me of her world both gave me hope and despair for the humans. I often wonder if it was to give me a foreshadowing of things to come in our world after the elves leave. Both warning and giving us possible hope for the future. I wish she had come back with me. We could have made use of her knowledge of our future and her skills as a healer. The only proof that I have that it happened, were the pups and this disk.”
“If it is meant for us to know, we will find out.”
Sador-faithful one, (sin) a house elf assigned to the personal service of Elrond
Meleth nin-my love
Ind nin-my heart
Tanthar-willow, (sin) former maid to Amarie now nurse to the twins
Halls of Mandos-dwelling of Namo, contains the houses of the dead.
Gwanur-brother or pair of twins.
Elros and Elwing- set of twins born to Amarie and Elrond. Named for his mother and his brother.
daer hin-grand children
Silanor-shining sun (sin) one of the golden wolves of Imladris
Author’s Notes: For the back story of this chapter refer my story In Dreams. Also this is the sequel to Lost Out Of Times. The arrival of the Golden Wolves in Imladris occurs there.